Reports today claim Gareth Bale has become the most expensive footballer of all time. My post a number of weeks ago suggested this may not be the case.
The Spanish and British media have reported that a fee of €100 or £85.3 million has been agreed between Real Madrid and Tottenham for Bale’s services. If this figure is correct, Bale will be the footballer involved in the largest transfer fee ever agreed between two clubs but not the most expensive player ever. This honour still rests with Cristiano Ronaldo.
The reason for this is down to inflation in both the UK and Eurozone 27. When Ronaldo was transferred to Madrid in the summer of 2009 a fee of €93.9 million of £80 million was agreed between Manchester United and Real Madrid. Data from Eurostat indicates that the Eurozone and UK experience an average annual inflation rate in the years 2010, 2011 and 2012 of 2.6% and 3.5% respectively.
This means that in real terms Ronaldo is still more expensive. If Ronaldo’s 2009 fee were to be adjusted for inflation, it would mean being sold to Madrid this year for €101.4 million or £88.8 million. Either way, this eclipses the fee paid for Bale.